It has felt never-ending. The relentless theatre of Lord Hodgson's review of the Charities Act 2006 and subsequent committees in the House of Commons has taken a full calendar year to play out; the Jimmy Saville scandal and the shadow cast across the role of celebrity in fundraising is still to set a lasting narrative; and the suspension of the Dove Trust’s CharityGiving portal last week has raised the question of whether online giving can be trusted by the British public.
So, a tough year with a huge impact on how the public view charity? Well, not quite, if last week’s annual nfpSynergy survey on levels of trust is anything to go by. Here we got to see an increase in trust in charities for the third year running, with half of those surveyed claiming to trust charities because they "know the charity follows high standards in their fundraising".
Charities are still the fourth most trusted UK institution, behind the armed forces, the Scouts and Guides, and the NHS – an impressive position, everything considered.
Launching the results, Joe Saxton, co-founder of nfpSynergy, said: "Two thirds of people trust charities and it’s increasing year on year. This is great news because trust is so important, but we don’t know why it goes up or down. Until the sector does a lot more to manage public trust, we can feel neither complacent nor content.
"Charities need to capitalise on their high levels of trust. They should communicate their impact better and address key public concerns like chief executives' salaries and overhead costs. It’s time the sector abandoned its laissez-faire approach and started tackling some issues head on."
Working with our partners across the sector, the Institute of Fundraising knows that maintaining these impressive levels of trust is not only essential for the success of self-regulation, but also for the generation the much needed funds for the good causes our members live and breath each day.
So as we celebrate another year towards the top, we are acutely aware of the need to find new ways to show our supporters that their trust in our work is worth every donation that’s received because of it.
Ceri Edwards, director of policy and communications at the Institute of Fundraising
This article appears on a page edited by the Institute of Fundraising and hosted by ThirdSector.co.uk